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Newly Diagnosed
An_254264 posted:
Well, I'm knew to all this. One day I'm healthy, active and fit. The next I'm suffering with aches and pains. I was recently confirmed to have RA. I recently just bought a new home. I didn't think that would be a problem being a single mother of two daughters 18 and 20. I'm 55 and fiercely independent. It scares me to think that I won't be able to do or have great difficulty in doing certain things. To be truthful, it scares me. I really don't have a support network. I'm accustomed to doing most things by myself, including mowing lawns, shoveling snow and just maintaining myself along with the girls.
I'm having a hard time dressing in the morning because of the stiffness and my joints ache at night to the point where I'm sometimes in tears. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with these feelings, both emotional and physical in trying to process what's happened to their bodies?
I do plan on seeking treatment. I do know that much. It's just the realization that this is such a nasty disease and how to deal with it.
An_254147 responded:
An_254264- I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but you're not alone! Like you I am a very independent person and I was knocked completely off my rocker when I got diagnosed with RA almost 3 years ago. I was 25, in grad school, living in a 3rd floor apartment with no elevators, driving a car with a manual transmission. I couldn't leave my apartment for days at a time because I couldn't get down the stairs. I couldn't drive my car because I couldn't manipulate the clutch or the gear shift anymore. It was truly terrifying! Thankfully I got started on medications pretty quickly and I went into remission after 5 months (though I was feeling MUCH better after a few weeks on prednisone). I'm back to being a fiercely independent person, working full time and a physically demanding job, working out as often as my schedule (not my body) allows. I am not limited in anyway by my RA. I can do whatever I want, just about anytime I want.

The RA diagnosis is terrifying but it's not the end of the world like I know it must seem right now. There are so many options for treating RA these days and new medications are still coming out. The goal of RA treatments today is remission, not just symptom control. The medications used to control RA take time to work so try and be patient and know that you will feel better!!! I think everyone needs time to grieve and mourn when you are first diagnosed so don't sell yourself short there. Let yourself have some bad days, it's okay! Just know that there are many good options for treatment and they work very well.

Honestly, the next few months will be difficult but once you start on treatment things will gradually improve. Find a rheumatologist you can work with, one who will listen and work with you to achieve your goals. Be upfront and honest with him/her. Let them know, these are my goals, this is what I need to be able to do and then work with them to get you there.

This is a life changing diagnosis, no doubt about that, but it's not a life ending and I don't think it has to be a life altering either. So much of living with this disease depends on your attitude. If you decide to let it run your life it will but if you decide it's just a stone on the path that you have to navigate around you'll do so much better.

Hang in there! This is the hardest part, when it's new and terrifying and you don't know what tomorrow will hold. You are going to feel better! It doesn't stay this painful forever, physically or emotionally. Long hot baths in the morning are great for morning stiffness. Paraffin baths for your hands also works wonders on the stiffness. I hope you get some relief soon!
lin9395k replied to An_254147's response:
Wow, thank you for your heartfelt, thought provoking response. You sound very similar, if not, exactly the kind of person I am. Since this post, I have started treatment, and it DOES make a world of difference.

Thank you again for sharing your story and for the strength you exude with every word.


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